NEW YORK -- When Jon Niese turned his season around in June, it should have turned his record around as well. Not so much. In taking a 1-0 loss Tuesday against the Cubs, Niese dropped to 0-6 over his last nine outings, despite delivering quality starts in each of the last five. He owns a 3.00 ERA over that most recent stretch, with zero wins to show for it.
"It's tough to swallow," Niese said. "But you've got to be professional about it. You've got to forget about it."
It's not as if Niese is playing mistake-free baseball. He walked four Cubs in Tuesday's loss, two of them to open innings, with one of those runners coming around to score on Matt Szczur's RBI double. Niese also compounded that walk by taking the easy out at first on a one-out ground ball back toward the mound, instead of trying to cut down the lead runner at second.
But none of those mistakes should have been crippling; they stood out afterward only because the Mets did nothing to pick Niese up at the plate.
"In a game where he gives up one run against a lineup that has pretty good numbers against left-handed pitching, he pitched an outstanding game," manager Terry Collins said. "He did an outstanding job. Certainly, he deserved a better fate."
Niese's career-long winless streak has coincided with his fourth-longest string of consecutive quality starts, thanks to the Mets losing one-run games in three of his last four outings. Yet if Niese is outraged, he is doing his best not to show it.
"It doesn't drag me [down]," he said. "I don't know if I can speak for anyone else, but I've got a short memory. This game's forgotten about. We've got to come back tomorrow and fight."